Russia informed Israel ahead of Syria attack: Source

Damaged buildings and a minaret in the central Syrian town of Talbisseh in the Homs province. Russian warplanes carried out air strikes in three Syrian provinces, including Homs, along with regime aircraft on Sept 30, according to a Syrian security s
Damaged buildings and a minaret in the central Syrian town of Talbisseh in the Homs province. Russian warplanes carried out air strikes in three Syrian provinces, including Homs, along with regime aircraft on Sept 30, according to a Syrian security source.PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Moscow informed Israel on Wednesday( Sept 30) that it was about to launch air strikes in Syria before the attacks, the first by Russian warplanes in the years-old conflict, an Israeli official told AFP.

Russian warplanes struck in two Syrian provinces alongside regime aircraft and provided targeting guidance for regime aircraft in a third, a Syrian security source said.

"Terrorist positions" were targeted by the Russians in Hama and Homs provinces, and they aided government air strikes in Latakia province, the regime's stronghold.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Jewish state had been given advance notice by the Russians.

The notice came just over a week after a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which the two agreed on a mechanism to avoid "misunderstandings" and clashes in Syrian airspace between the two militaries' jets.

Israeli military officials reportedly fear that the Russian air presence could cut their room for manoeuvre after several purported strikes on Iranian arms transfers to Hezbollah through Syria in recent months that were not officially acknowledged by Israeli authorities.

Israel opposes President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria but has sought to avoid being dragged into the conflict there.

The provinces targeted on Wednesday were far from Israel. The strikes marked the formal start of Moscow's military intervention in the conflict.